Found in Sanga, Sanga 1999.

Baladeva Purnima, 1999

I am sorry that I could not post this earlier, but it only came to my attention this evening of Baladeva Purnima. On the avirbhava of the illustrious Nityananda Prabhu in the year of 1997 a great festival was held here at Audarya asrama. During this festival in glorification of Sriman Nityananda, twelve fruit trees were planted in honor of the dvadasa-gopals (12 principal cowherd associates of Balarama), who appeared with Nityananda Prabhu in Gaura-lila.

The trees were planted while I read from Caitanya-caritamrta about these great souls, both their wonderful deeds in Gaura-lila and corresponding identities in Krishna-lila. This highly spiritual reading/discussion was conducted amidst a divya snana (divine bath in which rain falls while the sun shines) and a rainbow.

It was understood by the learned and tasteful devotees that the dvadasa-gopals had been invited to dwell at Audarya asrama in service to Gaura-Nityananda. Thus the orchard was named Dvadasa-Gopala Vana. The first tree to be planted was dedicated to Sridama (Abhirama dasa in Gaura-lila), the dearest and strongest of Krishna’s friends. Balarama is stronger than Krishna, and Sridama is even stronger than Balarama. So too is his love for Balarama strong.

We experienced this today in a wonderful way. Appearing here in the form of an apple tree dedicated to his divine service, Sridama suddenly manifested beautiful white apple blossom flowers four months out of season for the avirbhava mahotsava of Sri Rama.

May he bless us with prema for Rama and Krishna on this auspicious occasion.

Swami B. V. Tripurari

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